Using phones at the wheel is now illegal in France even if you're pulled over
As part of the country's continued crackdown on mobile phone usage at the wheel, France has now passed a law making it illegal to use your phone even when the car is pulled over.
Previously, the law was much the same as that of the UK – phone usage was prohibited while the car was 'circulating' in traffic. That meant you were not allowed to touch your mobile while the car was in motion or stopped in traffic.
However, the new regulations have changed the definition of circulating, and mean that phone usage is now totally prohibited unless you're deemed to be 'parked'. That means you have to be in a designated parking space, with your engine switched off and the car secured.
Exceptions are made if your car is broken down or if you've been involved in an accident, but for everyone else, the risk of a 135 euro fine (£120) and three licence points hopes to ensure compliance.
France has some of the toughest regulations on mobile phone usage in the world. Not only is talking and texting forbidden, as in most countries, but it also regulates the use of hands-free equipment. Calls may not be taken using the phone's built-in speakers, and headphones or earphones aren't permitted. Nor are Bluetooth headsets.
The country has also banned the use of any device which can detect or warn of speed cameras, while tourists will be familiar with the long list of safety equipment UK drivers are forced to carry when they visit.
"I think we should encourage motorists to stop when they're using their phones," a spokesperson for the French equivalent of the AA told news outlet Le Figaro. The ruling was made after a driver was found using his phone while parked at a roundabout with his hazard lights on.